Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hugh Taylor's extraordinary life.

Hugh Taylor of Parramatta.

This is a story about Hugh Taylor, born in 1823, who was a parliamentarian in NSW and Alderman of Parramatta between the years 1864 and 1897. Hugh Taylor was a champion of working people, a Catholic convert and was widely known as a friend to the poor.

Hugh Taylor’s father, Hugh Taylor senior, came to New South Wales under life sentence in 1815.[1] Such a sentence at that time almost certainly suggests a second offence, a repeat offender. Yet along with punishment, there was the opportunity for men of strong personality and physical bravery to prosper in exile. By 1821, within 6 years of arrival, Hugh Taylor senior had prospered sufficiently under Governor Macquarie’s liberal regime to apply for the position of Constable in Parramatta.[2] Most of the Parramatta Constables were Ticket-of-Leave men, like Hugh Taylor[3] – other Constables who came as convicts included William Sherwin, Samuel Horne, and William Batman, father of John Batman, the founder of Melbourne.

Hugh Taylor senior started a family with Elizabeth (Eliza) Brown, née O'Farrell, in 1821. It would not be until one year after their eldest son’s own marriage, that Hugh and Eliza would marry. Perhaps some impediment to marriage existed, as it did for many people in the early Colony; yet their families were very close, with the Taylors and the O'Farrells sharing a crypt in St. John’s cemetery, Parramatta.

In 1821 Taylor senior built a house opposite the modern-day entrance to Parramatta Park, then the Governor’s domain where first a daughter Mary was born in that same year, then the eldest son, Hugh junior, on March 19, 1823. A brother named John in 1827, then two more sisters, Eva in 1831 and Susanna two years after that, completed the family. In 1841 Taylor built another house, in Macquarie Street Parramatta where his eldest son would live all his life.[4]

Hugh Taylor senior was a “general Agent”, loaning money, such as 20 pounds on 25%. He was also the Parramatta correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald for a decade around the 1850’s. In correspondence, Archbishop Polding refers to him as “Hugh Taylor of Parramatta”, and that simple reference suggests that Hugh Taylor senior was a man you’d know if you met him; I wonder what did the Archbishop know of Taylor’s past?

Parramatta in the early years of the nineteenth century was surrounded by the wild scrub, in which escaped convicts and prisoners lived a lawless life. In 1822 Constable Hugh Taylor apprehended William Baxter, a notorious bushranger operating on the edges of Parramatta and the bushranger was executed. Taylor was recommended for a Conditional Pardon[5] which was awarded following his seizure of an illicit still in the Pennant Hills.[6] When he caught another bushranger, named Gardiner, also executed, Taylor received an Absolute Pardon on March 26 1824.[7]

In one of those significant episodes that perhaps defines the future, the prosecuting magistrate in the Gardiner trial was Hannibal Macarthur, nephew of John Macarthur; twenty years later, Hugh Taylor senior organised Hannibal Macarthur’s victory celebrations in Parramatta’s town square, after Hannibal’s election to the first (partly) representative Legislative Assembly.[8] Hugh Taylor junior, aged 18, assisted with the roasting of the bull and the games at Hannibal Macarthur’s victory celebrations.

The rise of democratic self-government in NSW was agitated for throughout the 1830’s: as well as an elected representative to the Legislature, Parramatta would gain an effective District Council in the early 1840’s and an elected Market Trust in 1841. While it is sometimes said that Hannibal Macarthur was the first man elected in NSW,[9] in April 1841 Hugh Taylor senior was himself elected as one of the five Commissioners of the Parramatta Market Trust, which was the first democratic election ever held in the Colony.[10] The legislation establishing elected market trustees was written by the Catholic lawyer J. H. Plunkett.[11]

The old ways of the penal settlement were being thrown off, replaced by a new society embracing modernity, but that old society was still visible in the late 1830’s. On his 74th birthday in 1897, Hugh Taylor recalled to a journalist for the Cumberland Argus his persistent memory of three hundred men, chained prisoners, marching up Parramatta’s George Street every day, to build the Lennox Bridge. Hugh like many others would have been sympathetic to the prisoners: Hugh’s younger brother John recalled slipping plugs of tobacco to the men when the overseers’ backs were turned. At the time these events took place, the Taylor brothers were in their mid-teens; evocative of the era, what remarkable memories to take into old age.[12]

Hugh Taylor junior’s story is quite literally about building the new society in New South Wales. Hugh was 23 years old when he married Frances Connor at Parramatta St Patrick’s church in 1846. The bride’s father was John Connor, chief clerk of the Colonial government.

We first hear of the young Hugh Taylor when he is working for Richard Harper, a Warden of the Church of England in Parramatta, for whom a window in St John’s is dedicated “A sower goeth forth to sow”. Harper would go on to be a Mayor of Parramatta and a magistrate, and established a branch of the Manchester United Order of Oddfellows in Parramatta: the Oddfellows would later establish a free dispensary in the town. Thomas Fowlie’s “History of Granville” states that when the railway was building (work commenced on the first railway line, from Sydney to what is now Granville, at the start of the 1850’s) “[Harper] had a cutting-cart, in the charge of Hugh Taylor, [that] went out to the navvies camp at Granville every day”.[13]

The railway was essential to the future prosperity of Parramatta, as Hugh Taylor senior noted in the pages of the Sydney Morning Herald in 1848. Concerned that the railway might be routed to the south of the town, Taylor senior wrote that, if that were the case, “Parramatta … will indeed become a truly deserted inland town, and the streets once more be covered over with grass and weeds!”. [14] The main road to the west of NSW ran through Parramatta, and it was strongly felt in Parramatta that the railway should follow that route.[15]

Transport was needed to carry the produce of the Cumberland Plains and of western NSW to Sydney: the Sydney road was inadequate for the task, and the Parramatta River did not provide sufficient deep moorings for extensive use. In the following years the discovery of gold in the mountains immediately west of Sydney would place great pressure on the infrastructure of NSW, especially Parramatta, which was the first major town one came to after leaving Bathurst.

Yet in the 1850’s, Parramatta’s drinking water was still taken from the town dam near the King’s School and distributed by cart through the town; the effluvia from the prisons and factories near the River made this an unsafe source of water. The building of the Parramatta Dam on Hunt’s Creek would provide clean, reticulated water for Parramatta but it would not be until later in the century that this finally happened. There was an urgent need for better roads, footpaths, lighting, hospitals and other urban infrastructure, and some means of alleviating the distressing poverty in which many of Parramatta’s residents found themselves. In 1838 the Parramatta Benevolent Society was founded to “afford relief to the poor and distressed”[16] but the preponderance of government institutions such as the Female Factory, the Gaol, orphanages and homes meant that up to one quarter of the town’s population was institutionalised and the former inmates of these government institutions often settled in or near the town.

Parramatta was known in the eighteen-sixties as a “Sleepy Hollow”. Municipalisation promised a means of overcoming that name and developing Parramatta’s future. Hugh Taylor junior had a great deal to do with the development of the Municipality of Parramatta, as did Hugh’s brother John Taylor.

That brother, John Taylor, lived a long and exciting life, spent in public service but also as a land and general goods auctioneer, and newspaper proprietor; surprisingly, although never a convert like his brother, John Taylor was an Executor of Archpriest Therry’s estate[17], one of those executors who resigned in favour of Father Dalton[18].

Hugh Taylor junior and his brother John were of those first generations of native-born Australians known as “The Currency”, meaning the locals. Taller than their parents, well-formed, the men wore their hair long and tucked under their collars, protecting their necks from the sun.[19] Good equestrians, they rode everywhere and thought little of distance, for they were well fed on the readily available, and cheap, mutton and beef, along with the fruit that grew in the orchards surrounding Parramatta. John and Hugh grew up with the wild bush on their doorstep, eels in the Parramatta River and swimming at “little Coogee”. It was possible then to hear the Dharug language spoken near Parramatta, and a school for Aborigines was located very near to the original Taylor home: the annual distribution of blankets to Aborigines took place nearby, at least until Hugh junior was into his teens.[20]

John Taylor was elected to the first Municipal Council, in 1861 and served the Council for many years; his brother Hugh was elected as an Alderman in 1864 and remained an Alderman until his death in 1897. At that time of municipal incorporation, there was little community infrastructure in Parramatta, and at first the Council relied on the rate income alone to develop improvements. While Hugh Taylor was Mayor in the early 1870’s, legislation was passed giving Boroughs access to loans for approved purposes – by this time, Hugh was also a member of the Legislative Assembly, to which he brought his nearly decade-long experience on the Parramatta Borough Council.

Hugh Taylor served as Mayor of Parramatta in the 1870’s, at the height of sectarian differences, and was a member of eight Parliaments of self-governing NSW.[21] In association with a looming election in 1874, Hugh Taylor stated what he believed was the enhanced reputation of the town since his election in 1871: “in the past three years, [Parramatta] had gained a name of respect all around the country”.[22] As local member and Mayor, Hugh felt that he had done a great deal to garner that respect.

The story of Hugh Taylor’s municipal endeavours must be told in another place, but it is worth briefly noting what was said about this work: “Mr. Taylor was very active in procuring grants for the Borough”.[23] This at the time when gas was brought to the town, when footpaths were first constructed, the Governor’s domain converted to a peoples’ park, the Hospital extended, water reticulated, sewage introduced and so forth, along with dramatic improvements to the transport infrastructure.

It is necessary only to list some of the extensive committees[24] on which Hugh Taylor sat in the Legislative Assembly (at this time, committee was the primary decision-making method of the Assembly) to illustrate that his workload was heavy. The committees included:

1. Parramatta Gas Company’s Incorporation Bill Committee No.6
2. Chairman of Lunatic Asylum, Parramatta Committee No.25
3. Lyndhurst Sale Bill Committee No.9
4. Chairman of Parramatta Town Hall Bill Committee No.7
5. City of Goulburn Gas and Coke Company’s Incorporation Bill Committee No.16
6. Wollongong Gas-light Company’s Bill Committee No.19
7. Maryville Colliery Company Railway Bill Committee No.20
8. West Wallsend and Monk Wearmouth Railway Bill Committee No.30
9. Glen Innes Markets Leasing Bill Committee No.33
10. Bennett’s Railway Bill Committee No.34
11. Chairman of Parramatta Public Baths Bill Committee No.37
12. Chairman of Parramatta Church School Bill Committee No.42
13. Chairman of Parramatta, Church street, Amended Alignment Bill Committee No.48
14. Chairman of Parramatta Municipal Quarries Bill Committee No.47
15. Bulli Colliery Disaster Fund Bill Committee No.8
16. Warwick Farm Railway Bill Committee No.17
17. Stockton Gas and Electricity Bill Committee No.24
18. West Wallsend Coal Company (Limited) Bill Committee No.28
19. Borough of Newcastle Electric Lighting Bill Committee No.23
20. Cook’s River Road Tramways Bill Committee No.26
21. Borough of Newcastle Electric Lighting Bill Committee No.40 (No.2)
22. Scottish Australian Mining Company (Limited) Railway Bill Committee No.8
23. Menindie and Broken Hill Tramway Bill Committee.10
24. Parramatta Street Watering Bill Committee No.26

Even in light of this extensive committee work, and the onerous demands of municipal leadership (at that time, the Mayor played an active role in administering the Borough), Hugh Taylor became known as the friend of the poor.

Hugh served on the management committees of the District Hospital and the Protestant and the Catholic orphanages. He was a diligent Trustee of Parramatta Park and of St John’s Park in Parramatta, and of the local Eisteddfod and he was a member of the local school board. Hugh Taylor also chaired the fund-raising committee to raise the spire of St Patrick’s church, a church whose rebuilding in the mid-1850’s Taylor worked for, as a part of the community effort to replace the then decrepit original church. That new St. Patrick’s church was a monument to Dean Coffey OSB, the outstanding Parish Priest who converted Hugh Taylor along with three other adults on the same day in 1844.

Yet Hugh Taylor junior was christened at St John’s Church of England Parramatta and he attended the Kings School, open only to Anglicans; his father was a subscriber,[25] at least, of Masonic Lodge 260, started in 1818 in Parramatta when Free Masonry was permitted.[26]

It may have been love that brought Hugh Taylor to the Catholic Church. The early register of the Parramatta church records that Hugh Taylor was a convert[27], baptised in November 1844, prior to his marriage to Frances Connor. In the mid-1840’s there was considerable discussion about conversion to the Catholic Church, following the example of (future) Cardinal Newman; at least one Parramatta convert at this time had been influenced by the Oxford Movement, the newspaper proprietor Jabez King Heydon, later the owner of the Freeman’s Journal.[28]

Hugh Taylor had the trade of a butcher in Parramatta, perhaps learning the trade from his friend and early employer Richard Harper. Taylor would practice this trade, both wholesale and retail, for the remainder of his life even when elected to Parliament, for at that time no remuneration was available for members. One of Hugh’s customers was someone often castigated as an enemy of Catholics, his life-long friend and sometimes neighbour Sir Henry Parkes[29] (Taylor was best man at Parke’s third marriage). Hugh supplied Parkes with meat even when Parkes had removed to Faulconbridge in the Blue Mountains, the parcels being shipped up on the train. This trade would also be the cause of Hugh losing, and then regaining his parliamentary seat, when he stood accused of improper contracts for the supply of meat to Parramatta institutions. Information that led to the charges was laid by Hugh Taylor’s Protestant foes in the bitter Parramatta sectarian “war”.[30]

The tumult of Taylor’s Mayoralty and parliamentary elections was partly sectarian and partly personal, but at this distance, it is difficult to ascertain how much it was the result of religion, and how much to the personal antagonism of the opponents. The antagonism of the Byrnes party to Hugh Taylor was extraordinary, and affected local and Colonial politics. The original two brothers Byrnes, William and James, owned extensive industrial property in Parramatta, including the successful Parramatta Woollen Mills; at the national level, son Charles Byrnes was would later be Chairman of the Southern Coal Owners Association, the association of coal mine owners on the NSW South Coast.

In the early days of Parramatta Council, John Taylor played the “loyal lieutenant” to James Byrnes, supporting Byrnes on the Parramatta Council: at the first meeting of the Council, Alderman John Taylor seconded the motion to elect James Byrnes (father of protagonist Charles Byrnes) the inaugural Mayor. When the break came, it was complete and was associated with the belligerent Protestant Defence Association. The battles were waged on the Hustings at election time in a manner consistent with the tumultuous times.[31]

In Parramatta, as elsewhere, politics was about local issues and no one claimed more concern with the local issues than Hugh Taylor did. J. C. Wharton writes that “[T]he town has had a long era of its own political and municipal rival Montagues and Capulets”[32], referring to the antagonism of the Byrnes and Taylors: a Byrne or a Protectionist representative stood for election to the Colonial parliament on sixteen occasions between 1858 and 1898, in opposition to Hugh Taylor on twelve occasions. Hugh Taylor was successful on eight occasions.

Whether or not the divides in Parramatta’s civic life were sectarian, they certainly existed. One famous sport associated with Parramatta is the game of bowls, first played at Parramatta’s Woolpack Hotel – the only bowling greens in Australia were at the Woolpack, so there were no other greens to play on. The early names associated with the game in Parramatta include Andrew Payten, William Fullagar, Dr. Brown, Captains McCrae and Fairclough, and C.J. Byrnes. Wharton writes, “The members of the Woolpack Club were all townsmen of high standing whose lives were inseparable in the social, political and municipal history of Parramatta as in the games of bowls they played under the most exclusive conditions. They were men associated as friends, whose political views mostly agreed. If you were in the “set” you could play bowls; if you were not, you stood out”.[33] Hugh Taylor “stood out”, but was President of the Parramatta Jockey Club and a committeeman of the early Australian cricket club, the Alfreds (the team played on Alfred Square, the old Jail Green.

It certainly is possible that the attitudes witnessed in Parramatta were other than sectarian. After all, Hugh Taylor senior was an emancipated convict, while Taylor junior was the son of a convict, but then it is unlikely that Taylor senior would have been elected as a Market Commissioner in 1841, nor played so prominent a role in the election of Hannibal Macarthur, if there was definite animosity to Taylor’s past. Also we know that the Taylors and Byrnes were allies in the early 1860’s, by which time Hugh Taylor junior had been a Catholic for nearly two decades, and had raised funds for the re-building of St Patrick’s church – built by Presbyterian James Houison who also built St Johns, All Saints and one of the two, oppositional, Presbyterian churches in Parramatta (but not the one he worshipped in, as his tender was not accepted!). In the 1860’s, with fine new Anglican, Catholic, Wesleyan, Baptist and Presbyterian churches, and with the sons of emancipated convicts holding positions on the new Municipal Council, a great deal of whatever bigotry may have existed appeared dead and buried, not merely hidden away.

And yet by the election of 1871, Hugh Taylor and Charles Byrnes stood in opposite camps, not only on the question of religion but also on social inclusion, protectionism versus free trade, and a host of local issues. In the elections to come, the animosity grew: in the Municipal elections in 1873, both the Byrnes “party” and the Taylor “party” were equally represented, and neither side would compromise to permit the election of the Mayor, a position then necessary to raise money, sign cheques, issue warrants and employ labour.[34] The deadlock between the parties continued for thirteen meetings, until one supporter of Byrnes died: a fourteenth meeting, hastily called, saw Hugh Taylor elected Mayor. Large, vocal crowds gathered outside and inside the Parramatta Town Hall throughout these meetings, taking sides. On Taylor assuming office, a decree nisi was sought by and granted to his opponents, declaring the election invalid as it had not taken place within one fortnight of the declaration of the poll; as a result, the Council let its staff go, and ceased Municipal work for the remainder of the year until new elections confirmed Hugh Taylor as Mayor.[35]

In the years immediately following this municipal debacle, there was trouble on the streets of Parramatta too, when the well-known protestant pugilist Sandy Ross and up to twenty “Pugs” patrolled the streets of Parramatta.[36] Sandy Ross had fought Catholic pugilist Larry Foley on March 18, 1871 in a bare-knuckle contest lasting 71 rounds, before police intervened.[37] These fighters represented gangs of (predominantly) youths, divided by religion; Foley represented the Green or Catholic group, while Ross was the leader of the Orange or Protestant group.[38] No high-falutin’ groups these, but “muscles for hire” is what grew out of the Orange gang. Charles Byrnes brought twenty pugilists to Parramatta, including Sandy Ross, to “peacefully persuade” people to vote in the Byrne’s interest, to the “discomfiture of the opponent, Hugh Taylor”.[39] At the time of the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Parramatta, an eye-witness Dick Burke recalled the events: “When Sandy and his mob were in town, you had to be careful what you were saying, and if you opened your mouth too wide you were liable to get a ‘job’”, Mr. Burke told a reporter in 1938. It may be significant that the pugs were “holed-up” at the Woolpack Hotel, and it was from there that they fled. At the declaration of the polls – in those days polls were usually declared the day they were held – Hugh Taylor was declared elected. “Sandy and his followers foregathered at the Woolpack Hotel, where plans for a hasty retreat to Sydney were made. Followed a stealthy exit to the railway station where amid mutual self-congratulations, they crowded into a carriage on the Sydney train. But Nemesis in the shape of a posse of angry citizens was hot on their trail and just as departure time was at hand the vengeful Parramattans burst into the station, dragged the cowed collection of bruisers from the carriage and gave them a bonzer clean-up. You see, for a week Sandy did what he liked in the town, so he had it coming to him”[40], recalled Mr. Burke. That scene sounds a great deal like the Cronulla riots in Sydney in 2005.

The larrikins or brawlers came to Parramatta on the invite of Charles Byrnes – but the Protestant Political Association had already incurred the wrath of George Oakes, who had been the local member until defeated by the Byrnes coalition in 1868. George Oakes was a lifelong member of the London Missionary Society, on whose behalf his father (Francis Oakes) had gone to the Pacific islands at the end of the eighteenth century, before settling in Parramatta and marrying the first European woman born in the Colony, Rebecca Small. The departure of George Oakes from the Assembly demonstrates the difficulties that might arise for forces opposing the Byrnes, whatever their denomination.[41]

It is likely that Hugh Taylor relied on the support of Catholics for his election success. In all the elections when Taylor faced Byrnes, Taylor was defeated only once, in 1880 and this in an election where state aid to denominational schools was the most pressing issue. Taylor did not oppose the wishes of the Catholic hierarchy – Taylor supported the dual education system - but he agreed not to oppose the new legislation if the parliament accepted it, which it did. The voters decided that was not enough to win their regard and Byrnes had the victory, so it could be that at the 1880 election, many of the Catholic voters deserted Taylor. Taylor won the seat at the next opportunity and held it until the early 1890’s when his electoral support dissipated somewhat, although he recontested the seat in 1894 and 1895, and was preparing to stand again, when he was struck with his final illness. Interestingly it was not the representative of extremism or privilege that defeated him, but the Australian poet (and father of Eleanor Dark) Dowell O’Reilly who won in 1894 and 1895.

Hugh Taylor’s regard for local matters saw him ridiculed in the national press. The editorial of the Brisbane Courier criticised Taylor for his parochialism at the opening of the town’s Post Office. This was a significant event for Taylor, not only for the local infrastructure but because the Farnell government had agreed that postage would be one penny for the districts out to Windsor, Penrith and Liverpool, including Parramatta, a Taylor victory that contemporaries regarded very highly.[42] However, the Courier was dismayed by Taylor’s remarks: “[Taylor] boasted that he did not go into Parliament to assist to make laws, and that he had never taken much interest in lawmaking; he went in to get as much for Parramatta as he could, and although he considered Sir Henry Parkes the ablest politician in New South Wales, he had supported Mr. Farnell and his Government because of their liberality to Parramatta but if he could not get all he wanted for the town it was probable the Government would lose a customer!”[43] The editorialist thought this the greatest cant: “Here is a man who comes boldly forward and avows that his vote and influence are at the disposal of any Ministry that will enrich his town; and he actually glories in his political degradation. There are, unfortunately, others in the present Assembly of Mr. Taylor's creed; but there are no others with the foolish and criminal vanity to publish their shameful principles to the world. Mr. Hugh Taylor has not sufficient nous to keep dark”.[44] What the Courier thought was Taylor’s misplaced parochialism, was Taylor’s great strength, especially at a time when services and infrastructure were in desperate need of enhancement.

It was local politics that Hugh Taylor represented, local issues and the concerns of his constituents. He was widely known as “the Poor Man’s Friend”, for representing the concerns of the poor, distributing personal alms and for selling meat and bread cheaply – up to one penny less a loaf than the bakers charged. His eulogies are full of praise for his lifelong charity, one example of which may suffice. Hugh Taylor served on the committees of both the Catholic and Protestant Orphanages in Parramatta, and when the Inter-Colonial Exhibition was held in Sydney, he took the children from both orphanages together to the spectacle, and feted them afterwards. That is a typical story of Hugh Taylor. He was personally brave too: this bravery was witnessed when, in a coach travelling down the precipitous Bulli Pass, an accident to the wheels left the coach careening down the mountain, pushing the carriage horses before the vehicle. Taylor took the reins from the driver, who inserted himself between the charging horses and tried to bring them to a halt, but neither could stop the runaway coach, which crashed on one of the severe curves of the descent. Miners from the local coal mine, hearing the sounds of the crash, organised medical help and transported the bruised passengers to safety.

That was not the first time Hugh Taylor had visited Bulli – he’d been cheered, along with Sir Henry Parkes his travelling companion, when visiting the striking Bulli coal miners: “Sir Henry Parkes and Mr. Hugh Taylor passed through Bulli last evening … a large number of men … gave three hearty cheers for the veteran statesman.”[45]

However, it was his concern for the poor that many remembered. The Cumberland Argus reported that “the last letter that Mr Hugh Taylor ever wrote was to Mr. J. N. Brunker the Colonial Secretary, requesting a grant of 25 pounds for the poor of Parramatta at Christmas”.[46] From the same article: “one of Mr Taylor’s principal characteristics had been his large charity. Magistrate Mr D’Arcy Irvine, not having known Hugh Taylor so long as others on the bench of the Parramatta Court, said that ‘with regard to … Mr Taylor’s acts of kindness and deeds of charity, there was one thought which came to him … that “kind hearts are more than coronets””.[47]

I write of a different time, when the son of a convict rose to the highest levels in the land. Had Hugh Taylor remained an Anglican, although the man may have been the same, the story could not have been the same. Hugh Taylor died in 1897 at the end of a long and productive life. Just days before his own death, Taylor wanted to attend the funeral of Thomas Rustin, an old Parramatta native like himself. Thomas Rustin could claim, with pride, that he was born in Parramatta and in his long life had never left the Cumberland Plain! Tom Rustin was the essence of Parramatta, the apotheosis of the “native born”, that generation of children of emancipated convicts that was passing away. He died within sight of the house where he was born. As did Hugh Taylor.

One final thought on Taylor concerns his last public act, his funeral. “The funeral moved from Mr. Taylor’s late residence at 4.30 pm on Tuesday. The procession was a sight never before beheld in Parramatta’s streets. The foot ways along the line of the route were blocked with crowds of onlookers. St John’s bells tolled on Monday morning (Hugh Taylor died on Sunday evening) and throughout the funeral. The muffled bells of All Saints rang during the funeral procession, joined by the bells of the other Parramatta churches. Father O’Reilly read the burial service with Fathers Martin, Sheridan, Kerwick and Mahony and then presented what was reported to be an eloquent address: “We shall miss him … But above all, the poor of Parramatta shall miss him, because he was a friend and a father to all in distress.”[48]


[1] Colonial Secretary Index, 1788-1825, 1815 Feb 2 On list of convicts disembarked from the "Marquis of Wellington" & forwarded to Parramatta for distribution (Reel 6004; 4/3493 p.436).

[2] Colonial Secretary Index, 1788-18251824 Apr 12 Appointed constable at Parramatta (Reel 6039; 4/424 p.228)

[3] Kass, Liston & McClymont, Parramatta: A Past Revealed, Parramatta 1996, p. 107.

[4] J. Cheyne Wharton (editor) The Jubilee History Of Parramatta, Cumberland Argus 1911: John Taylor (1827 – 1905). P. 84

[5] Colonial Secretary Index, 1788-1825, (Reel 6053, 4/1756 pp.46)

[6] Colonial Secretary Index, 1788-1825. 1821 Oct 9 Granted conditional pardon for seizure of private still worked at Pennant Hills by Thomas Thompson (Reel 6051; 4/1750 pp.176-8)

[7] Colonial Secretary Index, 1788-1825, Reel 6061; 4/1778 p.257

[8] Kass, Liston & McClymont, Parramatta: A Past Revealed, Parramatta 1996, p. 146.

[9] Quentin Taperell, Bicentennial Parramatta, 1988, self published, p. 76.

[10] Minute Book of the Parramatta Market Trust 1841 to 1845, list of electors and minutes of the first meeting. Now in the custody of Parramatta City Council Archives. As to the earliness of the Market Commissioners’ election, see also the biography of JH Plunkett in the ADB online (

[11] The biography of JH Plunkett, op. Cit.

[12] Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, March 21 1897

[13] T. Fowlie, History of Granville, 1918, p. 32

[14] Sydney Morning Herald, November 18, 1848

[15] Kass, Liston & McClymont, Parramatta: A Past Revealed, Parramatta 1996, p 154

[16] Kass, Liston & McClymont, op. Cit., p 139.

[17] Eris M. O’Brien, Life Of Archpriest Therry, p. 238

[18] Archbishop Polding in a letter to Abbot Gregory of Downside Abbey,

dated 21 June, 1864, quoted in Eris M. O’Brien, Life Of Archpriest Therry, p. 284

[19] Frank Clune, Wild Colonial Boys, Sydney 1948; general observation.

[20] Kass, Liston & McClymont, Parramatta: A Past Revealed, Parramatta 1996, p 105

[21] Mark Lyons, 'Taylor, Hugh (1823 - 1897)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition

[22] Sydney Morning Herald, December 11 1874.

[23] J. Cheyne Wharton, The Jubilee History of Parramatta, Parramatta 1911, p. 83

[24] Extract from a list of Hugh Taylor’s parliamentary service online at:

[25] The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Thursday 1 April 1830.

[26] “Some events in the early history of Freemasonry in Australia and the SW Pacific to 1848”, online resource at :“1822 -15 July - following an approach by Lodge 260 the Grand Lodge of Ireland issues a ruling which reads: "That an individual becoming free by pardon or by expiration of sentence, possessing a good character, may and would be eligible to become a member of a Masonic Lodge." This ruling enabled former convicts to be considered for membership. On the same date the Grand Lodge decided "that a warrant shall be issued by the Grand Master and the Grand Lodge to the master, wardens, secretary and treasurer of Lodge No. 260, to empower them to grant dispensations to constitute lodges in the colonies of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land." As a result the Leinster Masonic Committee was formed for the purpose of issuing dispensations”.

[27] St Patricks church Parramatta Sacramental Register Number 1, Baptisms in the County of Cumberland for 1844.

[28]Kass, Liston & McClymont, Parramatta: A Past Revealed, Parramatta 1996, p. 168.

[29] Collinridge Rivett, Parramatta Bicentenary : Australia, 1988, p. 45

[30] Kass, Liston & McClymont, Parramatta: A Past Revealed, Parramatta 1996, p.183.

[31] Wharton, op. cit., p. 83

[32] J. Cheyne Wharton, The Jubilee History of Parramatta, Parramatta 1911, p. 119

[33] Wharton, op.cit., p. 134

[34] The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.) Monday 17 February 1873

[35] Sydney Morning Herald, 5 July 1873 “A MUNICIPAL DEADLOCK. Seldom has a municipality been brought to a more thorough deadlock than that in which the corporation of Parramatta now finds itself. In February last there were two candidates for the mayoralty, but when the election meeting came on there was no return of either ; there being 12 aldermen m the municipality and the voting being equally divided. Meeting followed meeting, but without result, until at length, in the month of April, one of the aldermen (Mr Williams) died, whereupon the six of the unbroken party returned their candidate, Mr Hugh Taylor, who was duly declared mayor of Parramatta . After about two months of office a rule nisi for an order in the nature of a quo warranto to oust him therefrom was applied for and granted by the Supreme Court. This was argued yesterday, and the result was that the order was made as sought. .. [T]here being no head to the municipality it becomes wholly inoperative; all its functions are suspended, no rates can be collected, and no corporation work carried on. The corporation Parramatta has ceased to exist, and thus affairs must apparently remain until relief is afforded by the Legislature.

[36] Cumberland Argus (Parramatta NSW), October 26 1938 “When Pugs persuaded electors”

[37] Foley fought and won some twenty-two contests between 1866 and 1879, including some gladiatorial bouts with the Protestant Sandy Ross. ‘Larry Foley’, in Wray Vamplew et al (eds), The Oxford Companion to Australian Sport, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1992, p 142

[38] W.M. Horton Foley, Laurence (Larry) Australian Dictionary of Biography, online edition.

[39] Cumberland Argus “When Pugs persuaded electors” 1938, op cit.

[40] Cumberland Argus, “When Pugs persuaded electors” 1938 ibid

[41] Martha Rutledge, 'Oakes, George (1813 - 1881)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition

[42] Mark Lyons, 'Taylor, Hugh (1823 - 1897)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition

[43] The Brisbane Courier, Wednesday 12 June 1878

[44] The Brisbane Courier, op. cit.

[45] Bulli and Clifton Times, 8 January 1887

[46] The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, December 18, 1897

[47] The Argus, ibid

[48] The Argus, ibid

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